Archive for the ‘Foot Health’ Category

by Guest Blogger Rose Caillier, DPM

Occasional swollen feet and ankles are quite common and often do not pose much concern.   Whether it is due to a strenuous exercise or a long day of shopping, increased daily activities on the feet can lead to accumulation of fluid called edema.   Normally, blood flow along with muscle contraction pushes blood in one direction from our feet back to the heart.  But when valves in the veins do not work properly, fluid can back up and pool around the feet and ankles.

Swelling in the feet and ankles is also a common finding in pregnancy.  Increase in blood volume along with a growing fetus puts pressure on the veins causing fluid to be pushed out into the surrounding tissues.

Here are some things a person can do to help reduce swelling in the feet and ankles. 

Move the Feet.  Standing and sitting for long periods of time (like during airplane flights and car rides) does not allow the muscles to actively pump blood in the veins.  Stretch the legs, take walks down the aisle, or flex the feet up and down several times to keep moving.  A simple exercise is to trace the alphabet in the air with the feet.

Elevate the Legs.  When sitting, the feet should be propped up on a chair or stool.  Allowing the legs to hang down allows gravity to further collect fluid around the feet and ankles.  While lying down, a pillow placed under the heels or legs can keep the feet elevated.

Apply Compression.  Support stockings found at most drug stores help control swelling.  If they are not worn to sleep with, they should be applied first thing in the morning even before getting out of bed.

Get a Massage.  A Foot massage can be soothing and helpful.   Just a 5-10 minute foot massage per day can help stimulate circulation.

Consult a Doctor.  Feet that stay swollen can be a sign of serious medical conditions like heart, kidney, or liver failure.  Other causes of swollen feet and ankles include: being overweight, increased age, infection, sprain/strain or fracture, a blood clot in the leg, and side-effects of certain medications.  The doctor may even prescribe medications to help the body eliminate excess fluid and recommend a diet low in sodium.

Since a swollen foot can be a symptom of an underlying problem, it is wise to determine its cause particularly if there is pain or other areas of the body swells.  People who have loss of feeling in the feet, like a person with diabetic neuropathy, should seek medical attention right away if swelling occurs.   Otherwise, keeping an active lifestyle with regular exercise and proper nutrition will help maintain good circulation.


Rose Caillier, DPM, is a board certified podiatrist who has written for Podiatry Management magazine, is a contributing writer for The National Podiatric Medical Association’s newsletter Footnotes, and maintains her own blog at www.FootScribe.com. You can connect with Rose on Twitter; her handle is @FootScribe.


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If you’re like me, you wait until the last minute to finish, or even start, your Christmas shopping. It’s easy to become flustered and panic. Or you can ask for a little help from your friends, which is what I did. I reached out to one of my favorite communities, our Twitter friends. I received advice from some of our favorite health and wellness experts like @ArthritistAshley who tweets about chronic pain, RA, and OA. I chatted with Dr. Mo aka @FitInMyHeart and @GirlGoneHealthy, excited by their unique suggestions. @RunnerLuis, our favorite Before & After Icon, shared several of his best workout/running gift ideas. A few tweets later, I created a last minute Christmas list full of fun and practical ideas for everyone on your list—from teachers to mom to colleagues at work. And in true holiday spirit, I’m paying it forward and sharing with you. I hope you’ll find inspiration, motivation, and maybe even a little something for yourself. Thanks to all of our Twitter friends for their excellent suggestions and helpful holiday tips. 

Cleaning Service Gift Card. “Cleaning your home can be a chore for anyone, but is especially difficult if you live with pain or illness. Consider giving a gift card for a cleaning service or offer services to help a person who may need it this holiday season. A clean home for the holidays is a happy home!” ~Ashley Boynes-Shuck.  Connect with Ashley  on Twitter @ArthritisAshley and Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Arthritis-Ashley/140748292608472.

Indoor Cycling Bike. @IronMikeStone didn’t hesitate when asked what his ideal Christmas gift would be. “It’s the Must-Have new training bike.” If you’ve followed the Le Tour De France, you’ll remember seeing commercials with Lance Armstrong working out on a bike like this—it’s the official training bike of the Tour, made by Pro-Form. Be sure to check out Mike’s Triathlon, Fitness, & Motivational Blog.

Aromatherapy Hot/Cold Packs. Podiatrist Rose Caillier, @FootScribe, offered this great suggestion for a favorite gift. She suggests using these for neck, shoulders, feet, and ankles. We took her advice and found this great deal at Brookstone: n•a•p® 2-Piece Lavender Aromatherapy Set.  You can learn more from Rose at www.footscribe.com.

i-Tunes Gift Cards. “I love i-Tunes gift card so I can build up my running playlists.” ~ @RunnerLuis

GU Pure Performance Energy Products. Luis is a marathon runner and hates running out of GU. He suggests buying a box for that special running someone.

Running Undies. Athletic underwear are made of wicking fabric to prevent chafing. “My best gift one year was running undies. They were awesome, and I use them multiple times a week.” Our favorite spot for finding great running undies for men and women is Lululemon. Luis offers health and weight loss advice on Fat Free Life, and he writes a blog at Muddy Runner.

Blender, Food Processor & Juicer Machine. @GirlGoneHealthy recommends this as the perfect gift. “It’s perfect for health nuts or those just starting!” ~ Tera Norberg. And after talking with Tera, we searched and found a great all-in-one product by renowned chef Wolfgang Puck.  Tera features articles about healthy food on her blog Girl Gone Healthy.

Fitbit. “Oh yes, you know what I recommend? A Fitbit. It’s a $99 investment in #LifeLoveANDHealth. It is like having a personal trainer with you at all times. There is also a wonderful community to cheer you on!”  ~ @FitInMyHeart, aka, Dr. Mo, a Florida Podiatrist. For fun, motivation and education check out Dr. Mo’s website at www.FitInMyHeart.com.

Sleep-N-Heel Night Conditioning Heel Sleeves. Foot and Ankle Surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey N. Bowman, recommends the Heel Sleeves for conditioning dry, cracked skin. Visit www.HoustonFootSpecialists.com for more on ordering this product.

Gift Grab Bag. Our friends at AARP Magazine went out of their way this season to create an amazing Holiday Gift Guide specifically tailored for, well, everyone—the fitness enthusiast, the Gardner, the great outdoors enthusiast, pet lovers, and the list goes on. Not only are the gift ideas fun and creative, did we mention they’re all under $50? Now that’s a reason to celebrate! Rather than pick one, we recommend grabbing a warm latte, a fluffy croissant, and curling up with the mag as if it were a good book.  

Body Media Fit Core Armband: http://www.bodymedia.com/Shop/Armband-Packages  @BrooklynFitChik is always up on the latest & greatest in health & wellness and she’s giving us some of her top picks she hopes will find their way under her own Christmas tree this year.” I have the slightly bigger version but would love this sleeker version. Easily one of my favorite workout products that keeps me on track. LOVE!”

Nordic Track 3-in-1 Foal Roller: http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/gifts-under-75?page=5 “My IT Band has it on her wish list.” ~ @BrooklynFitChik

Sorel Tofino Boots: What more can we say about footwear that’s comfy and fashion forward? Maybe we should leave that to someone else who says it best . . . “Because I am worth it!” ~ @BrooklynFitChik. Be sure to visit Margo’s website at www.BrooklynFitChick.com.

Holstee Manifesto Poster. Embrace motivation & inspiration each and every day with words to live by. Did we mention that it’s eco-friendly too? Yep, that’s why Holstee is one of our favorite companies—inspiring a little Happy in our day—as they use sustainable materials and processes. And they have some of the coolest products around.

Happy Feet Insoles. What Gift List would be complete without a quick nod to our fabulous massaging insoles? Trust us, Ole’ Saint Nick himself couldn’t get through Christmas Eve deliveries if he didn’t wear his Happy Feet Insoles all year long.  Or at least that’s what we believe . . . and isn’t that what Christmas is all about? www.happyfeet.net.

 Happy Holidays from the Happy Feet Team!

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Guest Blogger: Dr. Jeffrey N. Bowman

I frequently get asked by my patients, “Why did I develop this rash on my foot?”  More often than not, they have Contact Dermatitis.  Contact Dermatitis is inflammation caused by direct skin contact with an irritating substance or allergen (allergic reaction).  This is different from an allergic reaction to medications.

Irritant Contact Dermatitis, the most common type, results from direct skin contact with acids, soaps, detergents, leather dye, or other chemicals and does not require a prior sensitization.  The reaction often resembles a rash or burn. Allergic Contact Dermatitis is a delayed hypersensitivity reaction that appears 24-48 hours after the exposure.

The reaction varies from a mild irritation and redness to open sores or very small blisters and may vary in the same person over time.  A history of any type of allergy increases the risk for this condition.
The diagnosis is usually based on the skin appearance and a history of exposure to a new product, such as soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, or other irritant.  Treatments include removal and avoidance of the offending agent, topical corticosteroids or in severe cases oral steroids.  If you see this or something unusual, you will want to contact your physician right away for treatment.  Contact Dermatitis is quite common but if left untreated can lead to infections or other problems.  Quick treatment is a key to getting rid of the problem. 

To learn more about foot health, you can visit Houston Foot Specialists. You can also connect with Dr. Bowman on Facebook and Twitter.


Jeffrey N. Bowman, DPM, MS
Houston Foot Specialists
Past President, Texas Podiatric Medical Association
Board Member, Texas Podiatric Medical Association
Houston, Tx. 77043

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I’ve never had an ingrown toenail. However, I know all about the pain, the redness, the aggravation and so on. My husband’s side of the family fights ingrown toenails on a regular basis—it is hereditary, you know. And my mother-in-law went as far as having her toenails removed. Ouch! I don’t think the rest of the family will be following in her, well, footsteps anytime soon.

Here are a few of the known causes of ingrown toenails and some tips for relief:

  • Improper Trimming. Cutting nails too short will most certainly cause an ingrown toenail every time.
  • Wearing Improper Footwear. Don’t try and squeeze your foot into a shoe that doesn’t fit properly. This isn’t a fairy tale and you will pay the price.
  • Fungal Infections. Give your toes and feet a little extra TLC once a week. Take a moment to notice any redness, irritation or points of discomfort.
  • Cutting Toenails Too Short. Enough said.
  • Exercise and Sports. If you’re an avid soccer player, kicking up a storm all over the field, it is quite possible that you can cause trauma to your toenails. Certain sports are known to cause foot irritations. If you feel pain, there is nothing to gain—see your doctor immediately.
  • Heredity. Passed down from generation to generation, ingrown toenails are known to dangle from the family tree. So if mom or dad have ingrown toenails, be aware that you may be next in line.

Although I’ve witnessed my husband performing light surgery on his ingrown toenails more than once, it is not recommended. You can make matters worse by trying to cut out the growth, causing infection. Soaking your feet, in many cases, can help alleviate the pain. If ingrown toenails become a common occurrence, you should visit your family physician.

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Guest Blogger of the Month: Olya Turcihin

I have suffered from sciatica for about three years now. At one point, I had to go to the emergency room because the pain was so awful. Finally, a dose of morphine was able to alleviate the pain, but only for twenty minutes!

On and off, the pain ebbs and flows depending on the day, the weather, my activity and my mood. Yoga has definitely helped me to make my body stronger and more flexible to withstand and sometimes erase the pain. My chiropractor also is a life saver and pain reliever.

And then, this past weekend, I learned about reiki acupressure points. Helping my friend after surgery, a mutual friend came over to offer his reiki services. Before he began, he explained that reiki pressure points can release toxins and help in the healing process by sending life energy (also known as reiki) through the acupressure points.

My research of reiki revealed that “energy blockages” whether from stress, trauma, or an injury, can be traced to the root of all health problems. Your energy flow affects how you feel, how you think, and how you breathe. Just as negative thoughts can block your energy flow, positive thoughts can increase your healing energy. When the body’s life-force energy becomes blocked, various emotional imbalances and physical symptoms also result. These energy blockages occur at the acupressure points. Through a variety of acupressure methods ranging from light touch, tapping, to simply holding the points, the body’s life energy is able to flow and rebalance.

As Jay, our reiki practitioner moved us through the points located on our hands and arms; we slowly moved down the body until we got to our feet. We held the points down with thumbs and/or fingers and applied firm, steady, stationary pressure. To stimulate the area we applied pressure for only four or five seconds at a time.  I was able to tell when I hit the point, as the area was tender, and a weird kind of energy flowed through the point.              

Jay asked us to find the point on our ankles right underneath the ankle bone located midway between the inside of the ankle bone and the Achilles tendon. The sensation was unbelievable! He described this point, K3, as the only spot in the body that connects bone and muscle. An amazing sensation ensued throughout my entire body, an energy that coursed its way right to my pained lower back!  I have been applying pressure to this point regularly and I actually find that my pain has subsided in the last week.                                                          

Acupressure points, just one more tool in my arsenal. The foot, an incredible tool to the health and well-being of your body! Give it a try…

Bio Olya Turcihin was born in Switzerland, lived in Turkey as a baby and then moved to NYC at the age of three, a true New Yorker. Olya Turcihin earned her BA in English Literature from Binghamton University, SUNY. She currently lives and works in NYC, where photography is her passion. Her photographs have recently been included at the Crest Fest 2011 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and a group show at The End’s Northside Open Studios Launch Party Show in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Her interests range from yoga, film, gallery hopping to volunteering her time to photographing art within the five boroughs of NYC for Artseeka, a new social platform for sharing and discovering art. You can follow Olya’s photographic journal at olya turcihin photography and Olya’s Urban Journal.

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Funky Town

Does a dark cloud appear the minute you step out of your shoes? Can you clear a room faster than Merry Maids? When someone asks what’s that smell, is it you?

Foot odor is actually a common problem. According to ePodiatry, foot odor can be caused by stress, hyperhidrosis, and hormonal changes. With a few simple solutions, you can tone down the funk and tell that pesky, embarrassing odor—smell ya later.

  • Rotate your shoes. Don’t wear the same pair of shoes every day no matter how many compliments they bring.  
  • Wash your feet daily, especially in between toes.
  • Give feet a break and go barefoot when you can, allowing feet to breathe in a little fresh air.
  • Wash insoles (including your Happy Feet Insoles & then air dry) on a regular basis.
  • Try deodorant. Yep, it’s not just for your pits anymore.

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Agony of de Feet

Let’s face it, when we slather on the sunscreen we’re talking backs, arms, legs—ignoring our feet altogether, a thoughtless act that results in days and nights with agony of de feet. On a recent Saturday morning, I stretched out on my rooftop with a favorite book and an ice cold drink. The sun darted in and out of the clouds for hours, and I welcomed the cool breeze.

Later in the evening as I was showering and readying for dinner out on the town, I noticed an unusual pain in both of my feet, just on the tops. Bright red, burning like fire, my feet stung—a slow but evolving sunburn yielding its angry face. Within an hour the swelling started and before bed, I downed ibuprofen, seeking some sort of a reprieve.

Our feet are tender on top and if exposed to the sun for lengthy periods of time, prone to serious sunburn. According to the CDC, you should apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before sun exposure and take breaks in the shade throughout the day. And don’t let the clouds fool you. Even on a cloudy day, you can develop severe sunburn.

Even with the intense pain, my feet didn’t blister. If you do find yourself with blisters in the sun, you should not break them but cover with gauze. CDC encourages everyone to seek medical attention if severe pain lasts for more than 48 hours.

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